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and you could not love any thing; if the light of the spiritual sun did not enter into your understandings, they would not be alive, and you could not know or think anything.
But because the heat of the spiritual sun is always flowing into your wills, and the light of the spiritual sun is always flowing into your understandings, you can always love and think something. What this shall be the Lord permits you to choose.
wish and try to choose right, you will love what is good, and you will love your neighbor, and you will love the Lord; and you will think what is true and what may help you to be good. And then you will be like some good and beautiful and useful plant. You will be that thing which a good and beautiful and useful plant signifies. But if you do not wish and try to choose right, then the love that is in you will be the love of self and of evil things, and your thoughts will be false ones, and wrong, and will be only such as favor your wickedness, and keep you from getting rid of it. And then you will be like an evil and poisonous plant. You will be that thing
which an evil and poisonous plant corresponds to and signifies.
And this is the death of the soul; this is what is meant by spiritual death. In this way you will understand many passages of the Word, in which this sad state of the soul is spoken of or signified.
will not find it difficult to see how the things I told you in the last lesson may sometimes help you in growing better. Thus, when you feel that you are inclined to be selfish and are going to do a selfish thing, or when you are angry, or when you are fretful and sullen because your parents have forbidden something you wished to do, or when you feel envious of another, or covet something which he has,-then there has a time come when you may choose whether you will be like a bad and poisonous plant, which every body avoids and wishes away, or a good and wholesome plant, which we cultivate carefully, and love to have near us.
If you give way to these bad feelings, all the while you indulge them it is as if the poisonous plant was growing; and if you let them make you do a wrong act—if you let these wicked feelings make you strike another in anger, or disobey your parents, or snatch or steal the thing you covet-then the poisonous plant has ripened
its fruit. And if you do not repent of this, but are glad of it, and pleased with the wrong thing you have done, then it is as if you eat of the poisonous fruit; it is as if you had eaten something which will make your soul sick; and if you do this wicked thing much and often, and persist in it, and love it, and do not repent of it, it will make your soul die.
Perhaps you may suffer when others do these wicked things towards you; and you may think it strange that the Lord, who can do all things, does not prevent persons from doing such things, to the hurt of others. I will try to tell you something about this.
The Lord does not prevent you from doing evil things, and from being wicked, if you choose to, because He wishes you to choose freely to be good; and therefore He wishes you to choose freely between good and evil; and He gives you power to make this choice.
And because you have the power of choosing between good and evil, you may choose what is evil.
The Lord does not prevent poisonous things
from growing, because He creates the natural world to correspond to the spiritual world, that it may teach us concerning it. But there is something more I can tell you about these poisonous things.
These poisonous things are used as medicines. When you are sick they cure you. The media cines you take would be poisons, and make you sick, at other times; but when you need them they are medicines, and are then better for you than apples or pears, or other wholesome fruits.
Now, suppose your little brother strikes you, or is very angry with you, or runs off with something you have or value. Then you are, perhaps, disposed to be angry or revengeful; this is soulsickness, and this very thing which has happened may supply a remedy. For if you recollect that it is sinful to be angry, and if you stop, and put a restraint on yourself, and speak mildly, and feel kindly to him, you have cured your sickness; and, what is more, you will never be so apt to have that soul-sickness again. Every time you check and prevent your own anger, it will be easier for you to check it the next time; and it will be more